Sugar has gained a bad reputation, and for good reasons — sugar has many bad side effects, from affecting your mood to increasing your chances of getting diabetes and making you fat. When food manufacturers get thrown a curve ball, they damn well know how to throw it back right at us. For a case in point: low-fat products started sprouting in supermarket aisles when there was a crusade against fats. Now, they’ve created are sugar-free concoctions that are sweet. “But how ?”, you ask. Well, black magic of course. Just kidding, but if you ask us, artificial sweeteners may as well be called the same.

Almost every sugar-free product on the market contains artificial sweeteners and some people might say they are the lesser of two evils. While that remains debatable, we’ll break it all down for you.

What are artificial sweeteners?

As the moniker suggests, they are artificial and you should not be consuming them. For starters, they are made in a lab and are smart enough to fool your brain as they have the same metabolic response as sugar. On top of that, they contain no calories — told you black magic was involved.

Are they bad or good?

There are many artificial sweeteners in the market, with saccharin, acesulfame and aspartame being the most popular. They are commonly found in diet sodas and the product list of the ever-popular sugar replacement brand, Equal. Artificial sweeteners are safe when consumed in small amounts as they are broken down into smaller compounds which are actually found in natural foods.

As we mentioned, artificial sweeteners also contain zero calories and are 200 times sweeter than sugar! All in all, artificial sweeteners may seem like a miracle solution to the sugar crisis but there is always the fine print. Seeming like the go-to option if you want to cut your sugar intake, artificial sweeteners are made with chemicals and studies have shown that they actually stimulate your appetite, making you more hungry.

Since they are much sweeter than added sugar, you end up craving for more sweet food and your taste buds will be out of whack. Your hunger hormones get all muddled, expecting calorie-laden fare but instead, receiving sweet nothings — it’s like filling a bucket with holes — you won’t feel fully satiated.

What’s more? Your body will still produce insulin when you consume artificial sweeteners — told you it will mess with your brain — and this can lead to blood sugar spikes, followed by dreaded sugar cravings.

The Verdict

Ideally, you should be avoiding artificial sweeteners and opt for natural sweeteners instead. While the former may seem like a better solution to combat weight loss, it is counterintuitive if you’re looking to improve your overall health.